REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — A population of the invasive spotted lanternfly has been found in Jefferson County, in Mingo Junction, just south of Steubenville, along the Ohio River.
The initial report came from a resident who spotted a dead adult spotted lanternfly on a commercial building Oct. 19. When Ohio Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Control inspectors arrived, they captured five live adult spotted lanternflies in trees located nearby.
The spotted lanternfly is a great concern to the grape and wine industry. The insect is fond of grapevines, fruit trees, hops, blueberry, oak, pine, poplar and walnut.
Adult spotted lanternflies are attracted to the invasive Ailanthus tree, also known as tree-of-heaven, while nymphs feed on a wide range of hosts. Both adults and nymphs feed on stems and leaves, causing sap bleeding and reduced photosynthesis, which can eventually kill the plant.
Now through November is the best time to spot the insect because it is in its most recognizable stages as a colorful, winged adult plant hopper.
After hatching in the late spring, it goes through four nymph stages. By midsummer, the nymph spotted lanternfly can be identified by its red body, roughly a half-inch in size, with black stripes and white dots.
During the late summer until roughly November, the spotted lanternfly is in the adult stage. These adults are larger, roughly one inch in size, with black bodies and brightly colored wings.
The public is the first line of defense against the insect. If you believe you have seen one in your area, you can report a suspected infestation by going to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Spotted Lanternfly Information Page and filling out a suspected infestation report. You can also call the Plant Pest Control Division at 614-728-6400.
The department has been working with the United States Department of Agriculture, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Grape Industries Committee to do visual surveys, insect trapping and outreach in the region.
For more information about the spotted lanternfly and what you can do to help, visit the department’s website.
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